Opinion

Right to Smear

Sep 21st, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

Posing as a mere “issue advocacy” operation, the “Real Truth About Obama” group’s ad attacks Mr. Obama’s character and trashes the candidate’s nuanced position on abortion. To spread these lies, the group wants an injunction against the Federal Election Commission’s disclosure and spending rules, instituted after the 2004 campaign.



The Candidates and the Court

Sep 21st, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

John McCain and Barack Obama have made it clear that they would pick very different kinds of justices. The results could be particularly dramatic under Mr. McCain, who is likely to complete President Bush’s campaign to make the court an aggressive right-wing force.



The Push to ‘Otherize’ Obama

Sep 21st, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

In public at least, it’s not acceptable to express reservations about a candidate’s skin color, so discomfort about race is sublimated into concerns about whether Senator Obama is sufficiently Christian. Nobody needs to point out that he is black, but there’s a persistent effort to exaggerate other differences, to de-Americanize him.



Truthiness Stages a Comeback

Sep 21st, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

The main thrust of the McCain campaign has been to cover up his history of economic malpractice. Senator McCain has largely pulled it off so far, under the guidance of Steve Schmidt, a Karl Rove protégé. A Rovian political strategy by definition means all slime, all the time. But the more crucial Rove game plan is to envelop the entire presidential race in a thick fog of truthiness.



Everyone wants to be top dog

Sep 21st, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

Malcolm Turnbull has always known what he wants, and why. He eased into the leader’s chair on Tuesday with an authority that immediately put the Government on notice that things were now going to be very, very different for it. On Turnbull’s team things will be very, very different, too. And not just because he’s leader.



Fight for naming rights

Sep 21st, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

A dull, drone-like dependability masks the political and policy fire and brimstone within Kevin Rudd. He wanted to make the voter transition from the dull but reliable John Howard to himself seamless. Now, 10 months later, we are stuck with - you guessed it - dull but mostly reliable.



Lipstick Bungle

Sep 20th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

It turns out that the Republican enthusiasm for Sarah Palin is just as superficial as she is. They were so eager for someone to cheer for (because they really don’t like John McCain) that they dove face first into the Palin mirage. But, on the issues, even they worry about her.



State of the union

Sep 20th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

Labor’s substitute for WorkChoices, which it calls Forward With Fairness, is no counter-revolution. In a way, it’s more an attempt to make WorkChoices more efficient, the sort of prescription that John Howard might have gone for had he not been overwhelmed by the desire to leave behind a profound ideological mark.



McClelland shoots from the lip

Sep 20th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

A Melbourne jury had that morning acquitted four people of terrorism charges but convicted six others after a trial spread over seven months. Now the Attorney-General was calling the Canberra press gallery together to crow about the convictions. They were, he said, “the most successful terrorist prosecution this country has seen”.



Sidelined federal MPs could be the saviours of state politics

Sep 20th, 2008 | By David Harper | Category: Opinion

The situation in New South Wales is similar to the state of affairs when Jeff Kennett came to office in 1992. For years, Victoria had been an economic basket case. Did Kennett respond, as Barry O’Farrell has done, by ignoring policy and presenting a small target? He did not. Instead, he and his supporters prepared to govern.